Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)
Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 11 November 1986 Mr COULTER: Mr Speaker, I consider it- a compliment to be called a fool by the honourable member for Arafura, even as I did when I was called mischievous by the honourable member for Stuart. Mr Ede: You agreed with that too. Mr COULTER: I agree wholeheartedly. You can rubbish me as much as you like. I collect about 200 votes every time you bad mouth me. Mr Speaker, let US go Mr Ede: You mean you have 40% now? Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member will cease interjecting. Mr COULTER: Mr Speaker, let us go back a few years and see how far to the left we have come on this conservation issue, where the people stood who originally started out to promote the development of a national park, and how far removed from that are the statements made today by the Environment Centre which advocate no mining in stages I, 2 and 3 and World Heritage listing for stages I, 2 and 3. I have with me a document from the Darwin Conservation Society. In February 1971, it wrote to Mr Hunt, who was then the Minister for the Interior at Parliament House, Canberra, in relation to the developments at Kakadu. The submission was sent by the society's president at that time, Mr W.P. Walsh. It is important to understand why the Reserves Board nominated this area for dedication as a national park. The simple fact is that it was the only large area of vacant Crown land available, and only vacant Crown land ~ould be turned into a national park. The region was available and suitable for use as a national park. It should be remembered that Mr Bowen, then the head of national parks in New South Wales, dedicated something like 3900 km 2 as a national park~ In this document, there is no suggestion that the flora and fauna preservation requirements of the Top End had been examined, and no suggestion that the park proposal covered an area especially needing preservation. This is the document. Mr SPEAKER: Order! I remind honourable members that today is Remembrance Day. I invite honourable members to stand in silence for 2 minutes in remembrance of those who have fallen in the defence of this country. Members stood in silence. Mr COULTER: Mr Speaker, in regard to the Nabarlek and Ranger uranium province of the day - because the mines were not there at that stage - the Darwin Conservation Society said: We see the Nabarlek Ranger uranium province as a critical power source for the planet during the next 2 centuries. There can be no doubt that it will be made td yield up its energy. It seems that the government is seeking a compromise that will permit a national park and mining at the same time. The Reserves Board, on the other hand, are holding out for a national park alone and will not even discuss the compromise. Nothing changes, does it? This was 15 years ago. We consider the position of the Reserves Board to be untenable. The deposits must be mined but, at the same time, we also want the park 763
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